We've written before about social media and ROI and why there are many benefits to social media in terms of awareness, SEO, SEM, etc. that are important to businesses and not necessarily immediately translatable to dollars. If you haven't read the post or seen the video, it's worth watching.
One way that social media can be very effective and is being used more and more is for customer service and research. For example, with one of our clients, OZzzz's Sleep Aid for Children, we built a store on Facebook where customers can not only purchase the product, but can share their experiences using the product and also interact with other parents helping each other with tips for children's sleep issues. Many parents provide unsolicited testimonials, ask us questions, and alert us to technology glitches that may occur. They also suggest product enhancements and let us know what they'd like us to provide in the future. This interaction enhances the brand experience and gives us invaluable feedback. You can see their page here.
Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can be excellent ways to stay in touch with your customers. Often brands we manage have customers contact us on social media and ask us for new features or mention to us what they like about the brands. The fact that we monitor these conversations and respond to their needs immediately enhances our relationship with customers and shows that we care about their business. Social Media Examiner recently explored some of the ways that "Social Media Has Changed Customer Service". The video that is part of the article is below.
Lately, Pinterest has been receiving a lot of attention as a new, popular social network that allows you to "pin" pictures and share them (with links to the site that has been "pinned"). Not only does this virally help your brand get more awareness, it's another example of how you can garner more site traffic using social media for no cost. There are also ways you can use sites such as Pinterest to do research on your company or brand. For example, by typing in http://pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com/, you can see who has "pinned" pictures from your website. Here's Town's Residential and who has pinned photos from their site, as an example: http://pinterest.com/source/townrealestate.com/. For more on how to use Pinterest for research, you can see this article from Social Media Explorer.
Social Media is changing the way companies communicate with customers and how we can tailor our brands to be more relevant to our customers. We can learn a lot about consumer preferences and increase awareness as well as customer satisfaction if we can just learn to break out of the mindset that everything we do must result in an immediate sale. It's time to change our thinking about the benefits of social media and think more broadly about all the ways it can help our business.
Solveris has a great deal of experience helping companies set up and use social media to help their businesses. Contact us if you'd like to explore some customized ways we can help you use it to help your brand.